Q&A: Alex Okosi

2013-04-27 12:30

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Alex Okosi is the man behind some of your favourite TV channels.

After skilfully using a basketball scholarship in the USA as a launching pad for a career in business, Alex Okosi was recently elected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum.

Nigeria-born Alex is now based in Johannesburg, where he is senior vice president of Viacom International Networks Africa (formerly MTV Networks Africa), responsible for managing the growth and development of VIMN’s Africa business. This includes MTV, MTV Base, VH1 Classic, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central.

What’s your leadership style?

I try to lead by example and don’t ask my team to put in time to deliver results while I am out having fun.

My passion to be part of the solution makes it easier for me to challenge my team to do great things, and have them respond because they know that I am working hard along with them.

I think I have grown as a leader through the years. I am definitely more focused on celebrating our wins and successes.

What was your dream job as a child?

Becoming a professional basketball player. After a major knee injury in high school I still attended university in Vermont, USA, on a basketball scholarship and I graduated with a double major in business administration and economics.

How important is mentorship for those who want to succeed in business?

It’s very important and I have always requested mentorship from great people whose path and accomplishments I admire. I am privileged to have great mentors who have helped shape who I am.

What do you think are the biggest challenges Africa faces?

One of the biggest opportunities we have is to change the negative perceptions about Africa. To do that, we as Africans must use every opportunity we have to showcase our expertise and ability to deliver great products and solutions.

Another opportunity we have is to find ways of improving our infrastructure so that Africa is not only a better place to live, but also an easier place to do business.

What is your vision for Viacom International Media Networks?

To continue expanding our distribution across more territories and platforms, growing our portfolio of channels and establishing our brands as the best against our target demographics.

Best business advice you’ve ever received?

Continue to innovate in order to meet the changing needs and tastes of consumers.

What have you learned the hard way?

That I can’t do everything. I’ve had to learn to recognise when to let an opportunity pass by.

Most admired business person: ‘The late Steve Jobs.’

Life motto: ‘Always pursue excellence.’

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